Contraception is a core preventive health service for women, including bisexual women and lesbians, for treating endometriosis, related pelvic pain and other health problems as well as for preventing pregnancy. Coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptives was guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act.
The provision in the current version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that allows religious organizations to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity has long been a source of significant concern to us.
Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court upheld the right of individuals to access birth control despite the opposition of some religious sects. Since then, mainstream attitudes have changed. But fundamentalist religious views about reproductive health and sexuality still influence our politics and law.
Today, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order compelling the State of Indiana to recognize the marriage of Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney while the State appeals a decision issued last week by a federal district court in Baskin v. Bogan, striking down Indiana’s marriage ban as unconstitutional.
Today, the day after Lambda Legal filed papers with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals asking the court on an emergency basis to lift its stay to allow respect for the marriage of one couple, Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler, because Niki is battling Stage IV ovarian cancer, Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed papers again demanding that the Court deny respect to the Indiana couple’s marriage.
Today, in a 5 to 4 decision, a majority of the United States Supreme Court held that family-owned businesses can refuse, based on their owners’ religious beliefs that their employees might not share, to pay for insurance coverage for contraception despite the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).